GOOSEBERRY Hill driver John O’Dowd has extended his West Australian Rally Championship lead, with a second place finish at the Boddington Safari last weekend.
While 2016 WARC champion Dylan King set the pace in his comeback event, the battle was intense between O’Dowd and his championship rival Stephen Oxley.
The pair traded times and positions all day, and at the end of the penultimate stage Oxley held second place by 9.7 seconds.
But an all-out push by O’Dowd over the final 30km stage saw him claim outright second place, just 0.6 of a second behind King and an impressive 18.9 seconds quicker than Oxley.
O’Dowd said he was really pleased with the result.
“Stephen (Oxley) was really quick all day,’’ he said.
“We were a bit cautious on the first pass of the stages – they were a little bit loose.
“But I felt much more confident on the second pass.
“The final two stages were in the dark and we decided to have a good hard ‘crack’ in the final stage and it worked out.”
Toni Feaver was his co-driver for the first time.
“She is very experienced and really professional in the way she goes about things.
“I’ve been really lucky to have Kenneth (Sheil), Tom (Wilde) and now Toni in the car with me this year.”
The WARC is now at the halfway point of the series with O’Dowd on 244 points, increasing his lead over Oxley who sits on 206 points.
“It’s a good position to be in.
“I set my goal this year to win the West Australian championship. There’s still a long way to go, but we’ve got ourselves in a good position.
“Kirup is just a month away, so we’ll get the car back to the Maximum Motorsport workshop, freshen it up and start again in Kirup.”
The next event on the WARC calendar is the Wheels on Yirrigan Kumho Tyre Kirup Stages, based around Kirup in the south of WA, starting Saturday, July 7.